From top left to right: The Câmara Municipal de Chaves (City Hall), the Tâmega River, the typical balconies, the keep, one of the central gardens and one of the two churches.
|Intermunic. comm.||Alto Tâmega|
|Parishes||41 (see text)|
|• President||Nuno Vaz (PS)|
|• Total||591.23 km2 (228.28 sq mi)|
|Elevation||371 m (1,217 ft)|
|• Density||70/km2 (180/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC±00:00 (WET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+01:00 (WEST)|
|Patron||Nossa Senhora da Livração|
Chaves (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈʃavɨʃ] ( listen )) is a city and a municipality in the north of Portugal. It is 10 km south of the Spanish border and 22 km south of Verín (Spain). The population in 2011 was 41,243, in an area of 591.23 km2. The municipality is the second most populous of the district of Vila Real (the district capital, Vila Real, is 60 km south on the A24 motorway). With origins in the Roman civitas Aquæ Flaviæ, Chaves has developed into a regional center. The urban area has 17,535 residents (2001).
Artefacts discovered in the region of Chaves identify the earliest settlement of humans dating back to the Paleolithic.Remnants discovered in Mairos, Pastoria and São Lourenço, those associated with transient proto-historic settlements and castros, show a human presence in the Alto Tâmega dating to the Chalcolithic. The region has seen persistent human settlement since Roman legions conquered and occupied the fertile valley of the Tâmega River, constructing a nascent outpost and taking over the existing castros in the area. The settlement was located at the convergence of three important Roman roads: the Bracara Augusta, Asturica, and Lamecum that crossed the Roman Province of Gallaecia, linking Rome to the region's natural resources. It was a military centre known for its baths, which lasted until the 16th century. This civilization constructed protective walls to protect the local population; spanned the river with the bridge; promoted the baths (with its warm medicinal waters); exploited local mines and alluvial deposits and other natural resources. Its importance led to the urban nucleus being elevated to the status ofmunicipality in 79 AD, during the reign of the first Flavian Caesar, Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus. Its benefactor consequently influenced its toponymy, becoming known as Aquae Flaviae. Artefacts from the area around the Matriz church indicate that Aquae Flaviae's centre was located in this place, in addition to an ancient headstone showing gladiatorial combat.
Rome's hegemony lasted until the 3rd century, when, successively, the proto-Germanic tribes of the Suebi, Visigoths and Alani colonized the imperial settlements of Chaves.Wars between Remismund and Frumar followed over their claims to the throne, which almost completely destroyed the village (it was settled in favour of Frumar, who imprisoned Idácio, the notable Bishop of Aquae Flaviae). Ironically, the Romans were complicit in Aquae Flaviae's near destruction. Barbarian dominion lasted until the Moors invaded from North Africa, defeating the Visigoth King Roderic at the beginning of the 8th century.
In course, the name of Aquae Flaviae began to disappear, being supplanted by the more Hispanic-sounding Aquae Calidae (English: hot waters).
Arab rule of the Iberian peninsula forced many Christians to escape from Chaves into the mountains in the northwest. Battles between the Christians and Muslim forces then continued until the 11th century, when Alfonso V of León reconquered the territory.After finally defeating the last vestiges of Moorish influence, he reconstructed, settled and encircled the settlement of Chaves with walls, in addition to establishing a Jewish quarter in the community. It was in the reign of Afonso I of Portugal that it was taken from León and firmly integrated into the Kingdom of Portugal domain (1160). Owing to its geographic location (on Portugal's northern frontier with Spain), King Denis, ordered the construction of a castle to protect the kingdom's border.
During the reign of Afonso II, when the king continued to provoke the ire of the Papacy, Portuguese knights attacked the Galician tenancy of his half-brother Martin Sanches (who lived in the kingdom of Alfonso IX of León), possibly since the Bishop of Braga had estates in that region. Provoking Sanches to invade northern Portugal.The Leonese fought battles in Barcelos, Braga and Guimarães, where they defeated Portuguese forces, before retiring to Galicia with their spoils. At the same time, Alfonso IX of León seized Chaves, which remained in Leonese hands until the reign of King Sancho II, when he and Ferdinand III met in 1230/1231. This was likely a self-serving decision on Fernando's part, as he was fearful that Leonese barons would support Sancho against him. Alfonso IX continued to occupy Chaves as a method of ensuring his wife, Teresa, would be able to enjoy her properties in Portugal.
During the Portuguese Interregnum, the nobility of Chaves supported Beatrice of Portugal, as she was heir presumptive to King Ferdinand I, since he left no male heirs. The potential loss of independence of Portugal, through her marriage to John I of Castile resulted in the rebellion by the Master of the Order of Aviz (later King John I of Portugal), who would garner the support of the Portuguese Cortes, thus laying the seeds for his triumph at the Battle of Aljubarrota.Yet, many nobles refused to break their oaths of fielty to Beatrice (including in Chaves), necessitating John's travel to Porto in force and scaring the nobles of Chaves and Bragança into capitulating.
The remnants of the Roman baths, and the houses used to assist the invalid, were demolished by the Count of Mesquitella at the end of the 17th century, in order to reinforce the defense of Chaves.
French forces invaded and attacked in 1807, during the Siege of Chaves, part of the Peninsular Wars.On 7 March 1808, Soult's forces invaded northern Portugal to remove British forces from Iberia. Brigadier Francisco Silveira was charged with the defense of Chaves, but his 6000 men were unable to support its defense, and quickly abandoned the castle. An attempt to defend Chaves by Francisco Pizarro was futile, and the city surrendered to French forces shortly after the engagement. With too many troops to imprison Soult released many under oath, in order to continue the attack on the main forces who had retreated to the south. But Francisco Silveira did not quit, and as the main French went on to defeat the Anglo-Portuguese alliance at the First Battle of Porto, Silveira retook Chaves.
On 20 September 1837, the Convention of Chaves, which followed the Battle of Ruivães and which ended Chartist or Marshall's Revolt, was signed in Chaves. : Sanctuary of Our Lady Revealed).Chaves was also a site of various religious apparitions, during the decade of 1830, eventually resulting in the construction of the Santuário da Nossa Senhora Aparecida (Portuguese
On 8 July 1912, forces loyal to the former monarchy, under the command of Henrique Paiva Couceiro, confronted government forces, commanded by Colonel Ribeiro de Carvalho, during the second monarchist incursion.
On 12 March 1929, the town of Chaves was elevated to the category of city.
Chaves is in the extreme north of Portugal, bounded on the north by Galicia (Spain), on the east by the municipalities of Vinhais and Valpaços, on the south by the municipality of Vila Pouca de Aguiar and on the west by the municipalities of Montalegre and Boticas. Chaves is one of the six municipalities of the Alto Tâmega, situated in the district of Vila Real, strategically positioned in the northwest of the Iberian peninsula and accessed by important international highways.
The region is dominated by the Quaternary Chaves sedimentary basin, a graben aligned on a north-northeast to south-southwest orientation bounded by the Hercynian massif and metamorphic schistose formations.Mixed with the schistose complex, there are bands of graphitic slates, mainly in the southern part of the urbanized area of Chaves and south-east of Faiões. To the north, and into Galicia, the basin extends into the depression of the Verin Basin. One of the oldest formations in the region, it dates back to the Ordovician period ( between 488.3±1.7 to 443.7±1.5 million years ago), is composed of schist and graywacke deposits. During the Ordovician-Silurian geological periods quartzites and schists were formed, metamorphosed by Hercynian granitic intrusions, at the end of the Paleozoic.
The Alpine orogeny was the main cause of extensive tectonic activities and it was responsible for the formation of the hydrothermal field within the region.The Chaves graben was formed by the relative motion of the block with different types of sediments being settled. The most recent formations are a sedimentary series (lacustrine, alluvial, colluvial, detritic, etc.) with variable thickness that had their origin during the Miocene. Two main faults cross and influence the tectonic activities: the north-northeast by south-southeast Chaves-Verin Fault and a fault system crossing near Faiões and Santo Estêvão. The first fault developed from late Hercynian tectonic episode occurring between 280 and 300 million years ago, that developed into an almost north-south direction into the lithosphere. Intense neotectonic activity reactivated these old fractures, originating in a complex pattern of faults in the sedimentary basin.
Mineral waters are the clearest evidence of these recent tectonic fractures. The Penacova-Régua-Verín Fault, is an active formation that extends longitudinally for 500 kilometres, intermingled with other faults resulting in subterranean hydrology. 73 °C (163 °F), these mineral springs (bicarbonates, sodium, silicates and fluoride) in the vicinity of the city of Chaves, have provided a potential source of income.The thermal springs, principally those in Campilho and Salus Vidago (in Vila de Vidago) have developed from this mixture of circumstances. With temperatures reaching
The hot springs (Portuguese : Caldas) were known since the Roman period, when the town was Aquae Flaviae; the Waters of Flavius were an important social gathering point, but fell into disuse as the town was slowly abandoned by attacks. The spas belong to a vast area of hydrothermal springs that stretch from Verín (in Galicia) to Pedras Salgadas, 30 km from Chaves (on the road to Vila Real). Despite its vastness and abundance of water, this thermal system is little utilized; of the nine groups of thermal springs there are only adequate installations in four of them: Chaves, Carvalhelhos, Vidago, Pedras Salgadas, and Verín. The waters of the spring, that are captured in three springs within Chaves, have mean temperatures of 73 °C (163 °F) (the hottest bicarbonate waters in Europe). The modern spa industry in Chaves use these waters for numerous treatments, including stomach, liver, intestinal, and kidney ailments, through oral ingestion. Many small guesthouses in the old part of the town are dependent on the influx of these visitors. The thermal spas are located between the castle and the river, in front of a large area of grass-covered park with playgrounds and tennis courts.
Chaves has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa) with continental and oceanic influences.
The mountains between the Minho region and Trás-os-Montes serve as a climatic barrier and lessen rainfall closer to the interior. Places such as the Peneda-Gerês National Park, only 50 km (31 mi) away, can have up to five times the amount of precipitation Chaves gets in a year. Winters can be cold; January highs rarely surpass 15 °C (59 °F) and lows are often below zero. Fog often hovers over the valley during the winter, usually lifting by midday, but on rare occasions can last for days. Cold fronts in the winter can often cause daytime temperatures to drop below 5 °C (41 °F). Snow is infrequent, especially in recent years although the surrounding hills often receive a dusting. Temperatures in July and August frequently pass 30 °C (86 °F) with nighttime temperatures dropping to 13–14 °C (55–57 °F). Summer brush fires can often make this season unpleasant although in recent years they have diminished, perhaps because most of the forest cover has been burnt. Chaves is one of the few places in Portugal with a dry March. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Chaves was −8.5 °C (16.7 °F) on 22 January 1983.
|Climate data for Chaves, elevation: 360 m or 1,180 ft, 1971-2000 normals and extremes|
|Record high °C (°F)||18.5|
|Average high °C (°F)||10.7|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||5.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||0.8|
|Record low °C (°F)||−8.5|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||73.0|
|Average precipitation days||11.7||9.0||6.9||11.5||11.7||5.3||3.6||3.0||6.4||9.5||12.3||13.2||104.1|
|Average snowy days||0.6||0.3||0.1||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.2||1.4|
|Source: Instituto de Meteorologia|
Government is administrated by the Municipal Chamber of Chaves (Portuguese : Câmara Municipal de Chaves), while locally the municipality is divided into the following parishes (freguesias):
In the past 127 years, the municipality has seen a 29% increase in local population (from 31815 in 1864 to 40940 in 1991). This was not a gradual nor homogeneous increase, since there were periods of extreme growth or rapid decline. During the 20th century, growth after 1920 is notably influenced by the restriction of trans-Atlantic emigration, just like after 1991, the population decreases were associated with liberal emigration policies as a result of the Maastricht Treaty.
The parish populations have seen fluctuations, although the most recent census show that 31 of these agglomerations had population levels in 1991 much lower than their first tabulation. Further, analysis of the data identifies that the municipal increase (29%) was primarily from the more urbanized parishes, while peripheral rural/mountainous parishes show net decreases. Many of the local people have emigrated to settlements in northern Europe in addition to France, but commonly return or visit their villages for weddings or village festivals.
Chaves has been isolated from the coastal urban centers and has suffered from a lack of convenient road communications. Recently, a new four-lane highway (A24) was opened to traffic. It links Chaves to Vila Real, and to the border with Spain. In Vila Pouca de Aguiar the highway also connects with the A7 that leads to Porto.
The population of the city encompasses 17,535 residents in the parishes of Santa Cruz-Trinidade, Madalena, and Santa Maria Maior: these parishes form the urbanized population of the city of Chaves.
Although many of the older buildings outside the historical walls were demolished to make way for apartment blocks, the medieval quarter with its Rua Direita and Rua de Santo António have been declared historic zones. In these areas there are narrow multi-story dwellings, whose origin has been limited by the walled city. Historically, the old quarter was the city, and few buildings were located outside its walls, since its frontier location and the imminent risk of invasion impeded the construction of homes outside the barriers. Consequently, space was limited and land primarily used for multi-purpose dwellings, resulting in very narrow streets and multi-story structures (with balconies that extend over the streets and protected the citizenry). Many of the lower floors were occupied by shops or small businesses, while the residents lived in the upper stories. Remnants of these verandas are still visible in the medieval quarter.
The walled city was at the forefront of the political turmoils during the Reconquista, transited by armies and sacked by enemies. Chaves was built, destroyed, and rebuilt several times by either faction (Christian and Muslim), when they occupied the castle (it is likely that for some periods the town was completely abandoned). In 1253, Afonso III supported the reconstruction of the castle. By 1258, Chaves was granted the status of a vila (or town). While the walls were eventually rebuilt, the advent of artillery would make the castle's fortifications obsolete, and its importance waned, while the historical battlements fell into ruins.
On 15 November 2009 an extensive green space on the east side of the Tâmega River, between the Engenheiro Carmona Bridge and the Public Gardens, was opened to the public. It is an area with playgrounds, pedestrian and cycling paths, a beach football pitch, and a large grassy area. A modern pedestrian bridge was constructed to link the park and recreational area with the hot springs on the west bank of the river. At the same time cycling and walking paths were built on both banks of the river extending north for several kilometers. The pedestrian bridge, which is approximately 90 ft, is Chave's tallest and most expensive bridge.
Agriculture and services are still the main sources of income. The traditional prosperity of Chaves comes, mainly, from a highly fertile plain, nine kilometres long and three to five wide, referred to as the"veiga". Since the land can be irrigated with canals there is intensive farming of potatoes, corn, rye, hay, while plots of vegetables are also commonplace in the local market. The main canal begins near Vila Verde da Raia and crosses the valley on the right bank of the Tâmega as far as Nantes. On the whole, the land is made up of small plots that are rarely economically viable. There is some dairy farming, and a milk production unit on the south side of town, but few cows can be seen in the valley. In general most of the farmers are of retirement age and farming is often pursued more as a hobby than as a profession.
In addition to agriculture there are some small industries producing glass, tiles, and food products. Like Vila Pouca de Aguiar, located thirty kilometres south, this is a land of granite; there are several granite extraction and finishing industries located in Chaves, in addition to three brickworks, located on the south side of the city. Further, two mineral water plants, located in Vidago, belong to the municipality.
It is serviced by A24 motorway, which links Chaves with the south, to Viseu, Coimbra and Figueira da Foz, connecting to Vila Pouca de Aguiar by the A7 (which acts as the gateway to the southern Trás-os-Montes), and the N103 from Bragança to Braga. Chaves is located 415 kilometres from Lisbon, 105 kilometres from Porto and just 55 kilometres from the district capital, Vila Real.
Between 1921 and 1990 Chaves was the northern terminus station of the Corgo line, a narrow gauge railway line which linked Chaves with Vila Real and Regua (the junction station for main line trains to Porto). The section between Chaves and Vila Real closed in 1990 and the remainder of the line closed in 2009.
Chaves Airport, a small, single runway airport for light aircraft, also serves the town.
The town of Chaves is built upon a long military history, that includes many fortifications or vestiges of battlements. Apart from the medieval castle and 17th century forts (Forte de São Francisco andForte de São Neutel), two medieval fortifications still exist: Santo Estêvão Tower (in the village of the same name north of Chaves) and Monforte Castle (in the hills east of the town).
In addition to the old Church of São Francisco (which for three centuries was resting place of the first Duke of Braganza), there are other buildings which have been artistically converted into hotel rooms, and which served the army as barracks for many years.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Chaves .|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Chaves .|
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